By: Bryan Irvine >> As a Zenoss user and community member I really enjoy working with the ZenPack API to create custom ZenPacks for the Zenoss Community. I recently discussed the Zenpack I created for EMC Isilon and in this post I am going to highlight the Infoblox ZenPack I published to the ZenPack catalog around the same time.
When I developed the Infoblox ZenPack it did not currently exist. Because Zenoss is open source and extensible I am able to create ZenPacks that will benefit my team and be further enhanced by the entire Zenoss Community.
Here are the details about my Infoblox ZenPack:
What does the ZenPack for Infoblox do?
This ZenPack adds a modeling plugin and monitors Infoblox BIND zones and DHCP ranges. Infoblox is basically a Linux appliance that runs BIND and takes a lot of the hard parts out of managing a stock DNS cluster which can get tricky. If any mistakes are made in the process, these mistakes can get cached (sometimes for hours) and cause problems.
Infoblox is a great solution that helps us manage these things and makes these problems go away. As with other proprietary solutions there is not a comprehensive way to monitor the environment. You can look at events through the proprietary UI but you do not want your NOC logging in each hour of the day checking for events. You need something that pulls this data into a more comprehensive monitoring view. This is why I created this ZenPack to plug the Infoblox appliances into our Zenoss monitoring solution.
Why is it impactful to my business and IT infrastructure?
A lot of times monitoring is an afterthought and only applied reactively when something negative happens. Our team cannot put something into production unless it is being monitored by Zenoss. This is pretty much a checklist item for anything we deploy to production and something I feel is a very good policy. It forces the DevOps process to work.
I knew we could create this ZenPack easily and did so proactively before we deployed Infoblox in our production environment. So it was really effective to be able to create an enhanced monitoring plugin with Zenoss as part of a new solution instead of waiting for an issue to arise post-deployment.
What are the key capabilities of the Infoblox ZenPack?
My initial version is a pretty straightforward ZenPack. With a couple clicks of a mouse you can:
* Monitor the statistics for every DHCP and DNS zone such as percent used for DHCP ranges.
* Monitor types of queries (Success, Fails, NXDomain, etc.) for BIND zones.
* Tells you when your Zones go above a given percentage so it does not run out of available IP addresses.
* Basic template that pulls in the statistics from the summary zone. A summary zone is kind of a hidden zone that captures all DNS zone activity into one report.
Who developed this ZenPack and why?
We needed a way to monitor the DHCP range percentage used and DNS statistics for each zone and an Infoblox device template for the summary zone.
I developed this ZenPack because it didn’t currently exist in the Zenoss ZenPack Catalog and my team really needed it. Creating this ZenPack was easy and didn’t take much time since I had created others before. My intent was to build the basic ZenPack, release it to the Zenoss Community and allow other Zenoss users and Zen Masters to enhance my ZenPack. The ZenPack API made this easy to accomplish.
The open source architecture of Zenoss and the ZenPack API allowed me to create the Infoblox ZenPack so we could leverage the benefits of Zenoss with our Infoblox environments quickly and with immediate impact.
What is a ZenPack Anyway?
Zenoss is an open source monitoring platform that can be extended through plug-ins, called ZenPacks, that allow you to monitor a vast array of devices, applications, and systems under a single unified dashboard. ZenPacks are to Zenoss as Plug-ins are to WordPress.
ZenPacks give developers the freedom to develop monitoring solutions that extend their Zenoss managed services platform. Developers and Zenoss create and publish enterprise ready ZenPacks in a very flexible environment to support dynamic IT infrastructures.
Zenoss and ZenPacks are based on open source that enables developers to solve any monitoring challenges on a granular level.
Bryan Irvine is a IT System Administrator at Nintendo, a member of the Zenoss Open Source Community and a guest author to the ITMonitor blog.